It’s all a Matter of Perspective
It is all a matter of how you see… some see it one way, others from an entirely different viewpoint…. a glass of water – half empty or half full??
I’m an optimist – I hope high hopes of which I am sure. Contrary to what some may think about my optimism, when it comes to the Church, I am in touch with reality. The perspective I have of the church’s place in the world is emphatically proclaimed by the events surrounding Palm Sunday.
Believe it or not the arrival of King Jesus riding on the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem has something to do with such a glass of water. It presents a perspective of the work of God we tend to forget. Rightly understood, the events of Palm Sunday should banish any pessimism re: future of the Church OR the work we as Church do in our neck of the God’s vineyard.
To appreciate the importance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, we must put it into context. It is not an isolated incident, a nice story which hangs by itself unconnected with anything else. It belongs to a chain of events, orchestrated by God, with a specific goal in mind.
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
John 11:38–57 (NIV84)
38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
39“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 6
40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.
48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
49Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!
50You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
51He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,
52and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
53So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
54Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
55When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover.
56They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?”
57But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.
John 12:12–19 (NIV84)
12The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”
14Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
15“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
16At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
18Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.
19So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”